Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Shadow Thieves by Anne Ursu

The Shadow Thieves

Author: Anne Ursu
Publisher: Atheneum Books

3 out of 5 stars

Once upon a time there was a girl named Charlotte Mielswetzki. I know, the name is a bit hard to pronounce. Charlotte would just tell you to say it this way, Meals-wet-ski. Charlotte is just a normal thirteen-year-old girl, who thinks that life isn’t going so well at the moment. Her best friend has just moved away and school is as boring as ever. On top of that, her mom wants her to be more out there and “try new things.” She’s a redhead, who always seems to be a bit grumpy. However, things are about to start looking up for her. She just found a kitten, and her cousin, Zachary Miller, is going to come over from London and live with her and her family. Well, that’s not too bad. 

Charlotte is quite excited about the fact that her cousin is going to be attending school with her. At first, things are great. Everyone loves Zachary, or Zee for short, because of his British accent and how polite and outgoing he is. Great, just what Charlotte needs. But then, something out of the ordinary occurs. Many of the kids in Charlotte’s school are overcome with an unknown illness. It turns out Zee knows more than he’s letting on. He believes that he is the cause of this strange sickness. He doesn’t know how or why, but everywhere he goes all of the kids start getting sick. Zee confesses to Charlotte that he thinks he’s the cause. What are they to do, since they are the only ones who suspect the truth?

That’s when they decide that they must find the cure. They can’t sit back and watch everyone that they know become sick. It’s unbearable. The truth is even more bizarre than they suspected. It turns out that the Greek gods are real, and messing with their lives. To find a cure, their quest will take them to the Greek Underworld. Now they must stop this plague before it continues spreading to more children. If they do not succeed, then everyone’s life is at stake. Can these two cousins make it to the Underworld and back, when heroes of the past have failed? And what do the gods have in store for them next? Anne Ursu reveals all in this mythological quest, The Shadow Thieves!

This book kept me entertained throughout the story. Not only are there Greek gods and mythology, but there is also humor mixed in as well. Right from the first page I chuckled at how the author, Anne Ursu, describes Charlotte. Anne Ursu’s writing makes many parts of this story humorous, and had a way of lightening up even the more serious scenes. The Shadow Thieves is a fun and interesting read for kids and young teen alike.

I also liked Anne Ursu’s take on Greek mythology. Instead of being like the other books and stories I’ve read, it was something different. Some aspects of it were similar to other books, like the Percy Jackson Series, but it was also unique. For example, Persephone, the queen of the Underworld, wasn’t at all what she seemed. Overall this was nice, because it did make the story much more interesting rather than being same-old, same-old.

I enjoyed the characters very much, especially Charlotte and Zee. It was so much fun watching Charlotte and Zee get to know each other and hear about their lives. Even the bad guys, namely Philonecron (a.k.a. Phil), were a lot of fun to read about. In the end, everything came together in The Shadow Thieves, and it turned out to be an interesting and enjoyable read. Charlotte and Zee’s adventure continues in the sequel, The Siren Song, and comes to an end in The Immortal Fire!

However, the storyline did seem a bit choppy to me as I read it. I felt like it didn’t all piece together and flow as smoothly as it could have. The story seemed to focus on one character, and then jump to another, and yet another, all the while leaving me slightly confused as I tried to follow along. Also, the story was divided into four parts: Part One: We Begin in the Middle, Part Two: Now, the Beginning, Part Three: The End of the Beginning, and Part Four: The Beginning of the End. See what I mean?

The Shadow Thieves is a mythological tale with great characters and familiar concepts. The Greek mythology was ancient, yet new at the same time, which definitely brought some excitement to the story. Charlotte and Zee were sucked into this unfamiliar universe that they never thought was real. Join Charlotte and Zee while they fight to find a cure as the world they know is hanging in the balance, in The Shadow Thieves!

-This is T.B. with Another Book Back on the Shelf…
Until Next Time, Keep Reading!

Check out The Shadow Thieves website at
The Shadow Thieves is available from Amazon here.

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